Most people take it for granted that the foods they purchase and consume each day are safe to eat. Yet for businesses operating in food production and distribution, meeting the health and safety standards defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires constant diligence.
Working with a food safety consultant is the best way to ensure that your business stays in compliance. Today we will examine in depth what goes into food safety consulting and offer advice on choosing the right food safety consulting services.
What Are Food Safety Consultants?
Food safety consultants can be individuals or entire organizations that are experts in food safety standards. They are highly trained and offer businesses their expertise and technical knowledge of safety in the manufacturing, processing, and distribution of food, beverages, and other goods meant for human consumption.
Why is Food Safety Consulting Needed?
Keeping the nation’s food supplies safe is serious business. The FDA defines the standards for food safety in America via their manufactured food regulatory program standards (MFRPS). These standards are updated every three years, and companies must remain compliant to continue doing business.
Food production facilities around the country are routinely inspected by the FDA to ensure compliance with MFRPS. The FDA also requires that organizations implement and maintain a hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP). HACCP is a management system that ensures food safety through control of potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards throughout the entire manufacturing process, all the way through consumption.
In addition, the state you operate in may also have its own laws around food safety that must be complied with. Businesses that are found in violation of any FDA or local food safety standards can be fined, or worse yet, shut down. Therefore, it is imperative to your business that you constantly strive for excellence in all matters of food safety.
Needless to say, navigating these standards without professional help can be difficult. As experts, food safety consultants can provide several advantages:
Using the HACCP process, a food safety consultant can conduct an inspection of your facilities and determine potential hazards. The consultant documents their findings and recommends solutions to any shortcomings.
A good food safety consultant will have intimate knowledge of the strict standards used by the FDA. The consultant will ensure you are compliant with MFSRPs, as well as other FDA requirements, such as good manufacturing practices (GMPs).
Because food safety is so important, it’s a great idea to engrain best practices in your workforce. A qualified food safety consultant can train your employees in general food safety, as well as specifics related to your industry.
Benefits of Using a Food Safety Consultant
The biggest benefit of using a food safety consultant is of course ensuring that your products are produced in a responsible manner, which prevents the threat of contamination and spread of illness. But there is more to it than that. Some other ways a food safety consultant can help:
By following food safety regulations, you will ensure that your goods are produced consistently and with quality.
A focus on food safety helps to reduce wasted resources. You will also be less likely to have to initiate a recall due to contaminated food.
Without the help of a food safety consultant, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest revisions to the FDA standards.
Selecting Food Safety Consulting Services
Whether you choose to work with established food safety consulting companies or an independent food safety consultant, it’s important to know what to look for.
Food safety consultancy is very technical work. Consultants should have at minimum a bachelor’s degree in a field closely related to food science or agriculture, as well as a thorough understanding of FDA safety regulations. Look for consultants with industry certifications, such as HACCP and others.
While we all start our careers somewhere, selecting an inexperienced food safety consultant could be a recipe for disaster. The best consultants hone their skills over years of working with many different clients. Consider reaching out to other businesses the consultant has worked with previously to get an idea of the consultant’s work style.
Food safety consultants often specialize in specific areas of food safety. If your business is in beverages, you would not want a consultant who specializes in seafood auditing your process.
Understand your budget and needs before you begin reaching out to consultants. Larger companies may require the resources of an entire food safety consulting company, while smaller businesses may only need an independent consultant to review their facilities.
Food safety is something that all businesses that operate in the food industry must take seriously. By working with a food safety consultant or company, you will be able to ensure that your operations meet FDA guidelines, and produce consistent, quality products.
Whether you are an established manufacturer of food products, or are just beginning your journey, Manex can help make sure your business takes food safety seriously. Our food safety consultants have the skills and training to help businesses of all sizes understand and implement food safety practices.
Contact our food safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Manex can help.